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African Blackwood grows in Africa,
and most of our stock comes from Tanzania where it is called Mpingo.
It mostly grows as a small bush, making harvest of good pieces very difficult.
Sometimes it does grow in a tree form. It is a true rosewood.
It is the classic wood of choice for bagpipes, clarinets and other musical
instruments. The wood has a natural resistance to saliva (which ebony
does not) and the grain is very fine. It is one of the world's finest
turning woods and takes the finest details, making it also one of the best
for ornamental turning. The specific gravity is between 1.0 and 1.2,
with a dry weight around 78 pounds per cubic foot. African
blackwood is not really black, but ranges from dark violet to brownish.
If you need a very black wood, please select AA grade ebony. Note that
the grading system is not about color but how free of defects the wood
is. If you have very specific expectations, be certain to email us
for detailed information.
for those like us who are concerned about environmental impact of wood
use: Consider making a gift to the African Blackwood
Project which is working to plant more of these trees. Click
here to visit that website.
Grading system: Click
here to see sample photo of bare wood in different grades
The wood has no visible defects of any kind and is at least partially air
dried (PAD). Grain that is not straight may be present but no knots/round swirls . Color
IQ2= 2nd instrument quality.
These pieces didn't make IQ grade, due to a minor defect such as a small
sapwood area, or some figure or tiny knot. Many vendors sell this grade as instrument grade.
IQ3= 3rd instrument quality.
These pieces didn't make IQ2 grade, due to a minor defect such as pin holes and/or a tiny hairline check. Most vendors sell this as IQ2 grade.
TG=Turning grade (usually not marked).
This wood may have knots, sapwood, etc. Tiny rot areas
and tiny hairline checks as well as internal defects possible--if you need
a perfect piece, please get a higher grade. Usually just fine for turning.
Logs: All African
blackwood logs have some checks and other defects. Expect to cut
around or use them as design elements. Sizes stated in maximum dimensions.
Please note that grades are
based on external appearances only. We do not have wood xraying
capability and cannot guarantee the quality on the inside, though usually
it is same as outside.
Any of the square pieces below can be made into a dowel. Go to the custom
cutting page to order a dowel made from most any square on our site.
Order online, or call us
Monday through Friday 970-241-2827
International callers and all questions:
Note that everything on this page (photos too!)
are copyrighted and may not be used
without written permission. Copyright
2006, 2013, 2020 by James Griffin. If you are a customer
and want to use some of our photos on your
website, call or email us with your request.